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Why Matt Lauer’s ‘Commander in Chief’ Interviews Were an Unmitigated Disaster

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Were Interviewed by Matt Lauer. It Didn’t Go Well. For Democracy.

Wednesday night NBC’s Matt Lauer held “Commander in Chief” pre-debate interviews in the USS Intrepid, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the first almost-debate of the 2016 general election. It didn’t go well. 

Why NBC News chief Andrew Lack decided Matt Lauer would be the perfect moderator is anyone’s guess. Rachel Maddow, whose MSNBC show is the new network’s crown jewel, and who literally wrote the book on the evening’s topic, was literally on deck to mop up at 9 PM after Lauer nearly sunk the ship.

In a nutshell, Lauer put the screws to Clinton, almost berating her over her emails, which have nothing to do with the event’s topic, while he effectively pour Trump a beer and sat back watching football. The systemic sexism was mind-boggling. 

Almost immediately, journalists (yours truly included) took to social media with jaws hanging open, shocked at the journalistic malpractice NBC News (remember NBC’s CNBC GOP debate that was also an unmitigated disaster?) has foisted upon the American democracy.

New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait penned a widely-circulated article titled, “Matt Lauer’s Pathetic Interview of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Is the Scariest Thing I’ve Seen in This Campaign.”

It begins, “I had not taken seriously the possibility that Donald Trump could win the presidency until I saw Matt Lauer host an hour-long interview with the two major party candidates. Lauer’s performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking.”

Chait sums up the consequences, noting that, as it turns out, the average voter, especially those who are still undecided, “subsist on a news diet supplied by the likes of Matt Lauer. And the reality transmitted to them from Lauer matches the reality of the polls, which is a world in which Clinton and Trump are equivalently flawed.”

In other words, Lauer has perpetrated the myth that either candidate is equally acceptable.

Veteran journalist and Huffington Post editor-at-large Michelangelo Signorile offered this insight hours after the event:

The New York Times (which has little right to criticize others after its extremely offensive anti-Clinton slanted coverage,) reports,” Mr. Lauer found himself besieged on Wednesday evening by critics of all political stripes, who accused the anchor of unfairness, sloppiness and even sexism in his handling of the event.”

Thursday morning, Signorile followed up, rightly telling the Times that what happened Wednesday was their fault in part, after their anti-Clinton coverage:

Raw Story rightly points to CNN senior media and politics reporter Dylan Byers’ analysis, saying Byers “crushed” Lauer:

“Political interviews, forums, town halls, debates, these are really big, significant deals,” Dylan Byers said on CNN (video below). “They’re especially big, significant deals given all that’s at stake in the 2016 election. You don’t send Matt Lauer to do a political reporter’s job. Look, in a debate, it might be fair to argue that you can let the two candidates fact-check each other. But when it comes to these one-on-one interviews, these forums, you have to step up and play that role. That onus is on you, and Matt Lauer didn’t do that. He certainly didn’t do that with Donald Trump. He didn’t do it on the Iraq War. He didn’t do it on a number of other issues and frankly, this criticism that he went a lot harder on Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, I think, is well founded.”

Rob Reiner also weighed in:

Others:

 

 

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CRIME

Man Shoots and Kills Atlanta Supermarket Cashier, Wounds Guard Over Mask Policy: Police

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A man pulled out a gun and shot and killed an Atlanta-area Big Bear Supermarket cashier over the store’s mask policy, according to police. Two people, including a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office reserve unit deputy who was inside the supermarket working as a security guard, and the suspect, were also wounded.

“The subject pulled out a weapon and shot a cashier at the location,” DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said, according to 11Alive. “The individual is deceased.”

“Although details are not complete, authorities say that the male suspect was involved in a dispute with a young woman before he began firing at her inside the store,” the spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said.

There apparently was an altercation over the mask policy, which is clearly posted on the store’s door.

“A witness, identified as Alan Williams, said a man walked into the store, struck the woman with a gun, then shot her. That’s when the deputy and the suspect exchanged gunfire.”

 

This is a breaking news and developing story. 

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'CAN’T HANDLE COLD OR HEAT'

#AbbottFailedTexas Trends as State Electric Authority Warns of Possible Power Outages Again – This Time in Heat Wave

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Over the winter at least 151 Texans died as 4.5 million homes and businesses went without power in a massive failure created by poor planning, lack of regulation, and sheer greed.

Last week Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott promised he had fixed the problem.

On Monday, less than seven days later, ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, urged customers to turn air conditioning to no cooler than 78 degrees and to conserve power, as it expects more blackouts throughout the week – this time during extreme heat.

In a statement ERCOT also asked Texans to not use ovens, washing machines, or dryers.

“If you don’t need something – we are asking you to turn it off and unplug it if possible.”

Many Texans, and many Americans, are furious.

 

 

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THE GOP IS NOW THE QANON PARTY

FBI Warns Congress of More Possible QAnon Violence Targeting Democratic Lawmakers

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The FBI has briefed members of Congress that QAnon “digital soldiers” may become violent and engage in more acts of domestic violent extremism, like the January 6 insurrection. In an unclassified version of the threat assessment delivered to top lawmakers in April the Bureau warns that Democrats may be targeted.

Rather than walking away from the far right wing conspiracy movement that paints some top Democrats as part of a dark cabal of cannibalistic Satan-worshipping pedophiles being fought by Donald Trump, some QAnon cultists think “that individuals need to take greater control of the direction of the movement than before,” CNN reports in an exclusive.

The shift is fueled by a belief among some of the conspiracy’s more militant followers that they “can no longer ‘trust the plan” set forth by its mysterious standard-bearer, known simply as “Q,” according an unclassified FBI threat assessment on QAnon sent to lawmakers last week, which was obtained by CNN.

This might lead followers to seek to harm “perceived members of the ‘cabal’ such as Democrats and other political opposition — instead of continually awaiting Q’s promised actions which have not occurred,” according to the assessment.

CNN also reports FBI Director Christopher Wray “made clear the bureau is not investigating” the QAnon movement, but only crimes committed by its adherents.

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